Fred’s Boxing Day
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“Oh I’m in so much trouble!”
I feel my eyes trying not to open, trying to keep me in the warm soft blankets of sleep.
“Oh, man, now Jerry must think I’m a…” I know Emma’s voice, and I know she’s my girl, and I figure I might as well get up because no dream could be this nice. My eyes open, and I see Emma-in-the-morning.
Now, I’ve always believed that you never really know a girl until you see her naked first thing in the morning. There she was, in all her glory: Emma the Bowling Wonder. And even with runny eyeshadow and the splendor of her curly copper-gold hair spun up in twists and tendrils, she was the most beautiful woman alive, except for the unhappy look. I sit up. “What’s wrong, baby?”
“What’s wrong?” Emma stops and stares at me. “Jerry? The pool table? Augh!” She clutches her red-gold hair in her fists and stares heavenward. And I understand why.
Emma’s boss Jerry had held the annual employee Christmas party last night, we showed up to wish him Merry Christmas and he’d left the two of us alone in the place for a minute. Long enough to get in trouble right on the pool table.
I mean real trouble as well as the sex kind. Jerry had come back in to find both of us looking hard-rode and Emma covered with cue chalk. “Yeah, I remember. Fuck us.” I think back to the reaming he gave us last night.
“Oh you fuckin’ kids, what did you do on my pool table?” he’d asked, and I can see in his eyes he knows damn well what we were doing on there.
“Eh, swimming?” Emma’d said in a tiny voice.
“You guys was fuckin’ on my table.” He’d pointed a gnarly finger at Emma. “I haven’t even fucked nobody on that table yet! I bought the fuckin’ thing, how come I get sloppy seconds?”
He’d walked over to the table and inspected it, ran a hand across the surface.
“Oh, see? The felt’s damp, I gotta replace it now, gonna cost a ton.” I chuckled at this, stupid me, but I had to. He swivels to face me. “Think that’s funny?”
“Well, do you have to replace that felt every time a drink gets spilled on there?”
“Fred–” Emma’d begun, but Jerry’d waved a hand at her to shut her up.
“Kid’s a thinker. I might have a job for you someday after all. Thing is,” he’d backed away to face us both, “I left my place in your hands and by doin’ this you disrespect it, and you disrespect me.” I’d felt like a sleazeball when he said it that way and had looked at my shoes. “You, Miss Grossberger, come see me before your shift tomorrow. And you,” he’d turned to face me, “you clear outta here, Fred. I don’t wanna see you again.”
I was real hurt by this. I’ve known Jerry longer that I’ve known Emma; Jerry was my bartender for two years before Emma became my barmaid two years ago. So I wasn’t really sure he’d meant it. But it’s his place. I’d turned and limped toward the door on a busted-up ankle that I’d whacked with a bowling ball maybe an hour before.
“G’nite, Jerry, um…Merry Christmas!” She sounds sad and it hurts me to hear sadness in her voice.
“Yeah, whatever, bye,” he’d yelled at her, and we’d limped the two doors to Emma’s– and my–house.
Emma was upset and cried herself to sleep, and had apparently awakened just as upset. I struggle out of bed and gather her into my arms. Her head lays against my shoulder and I feel a teardrop coursing down my chest. It itches.
“He might fire me,” Emma says, and I can barely understand her.
“There’s no way he’s gonna fire you, Emma, not for a little not-so-family-style fun on his pool table. You bring people in there, he said so himself. I know there’s people that go into Jerry’s just to see you.”
Emma nods; she’s made friends that might otherwise be drinking at home.
“And don’t forget the Christmas money,” I reminded her.
Jerry is not well-off, he runs a bar and his wife is very sick, but he still gave Emma about six hundred bucks for Christmas. Emma felt bad about taking his money, but he wouldn’t take it back, so she stuck it in an envelope addressed to him, with a note from Santa. If he didn’t get it last night, he will today. Emma finally smiles a little. “Hey, yeah, that ought to make him smile–” Her face fell. “No, he’ll feel rotten he chewed us out so bad last night. I don’t want him to feel bad, it’s my fault–all mine, not even yours. I don’t want him mad at me either…How much does a pool table cost?”
Emma’s pretty tomboyish about some things, her sports being one of them, and I’m surprised she doesn’t already know this. “For a seven-footer, maybe two thousand, but for a model like Jerry’s…” I whistle; I don’t even want to think about this.
“We can’t just buy him a new one then.” Emma sits down on the bed and pulls me down beside her. “Fred, this is serious. What if he fires me? How will I make my bills?”
“Well, if he fires you, you could go work at Gennies–“
“I’m not gonna titty-dance, Fred.” She sounds angry.
“I mean tending bar,” I clarify, and her fur smoothes out.
“I’m friends with one of the wait staff there, and they say it’s not tesettürlü escort a fun place to work,” she tells me, and leans her back against my side. I put an arm around her chest and hold her close. “The customers think you’re part of the show, and when they find out you’re not, they aren’t inclined to tip you.”
“How about Stellar?” Stellar Lanes is the old local bowling alley, with antique pinsetters and scoring tables with the projectors built in.
“That’s out. I don’t work in bowling alleys unless I’m in competition.”
I consider. “Well, how much are your bills?”
“About a thousand dollars a month, give or take.”
“Emma…I could pay that out of what I’m not paying for my apartment rent.”
She stares at me and her eyes cross. “Oh, shit, that’s right, you live here too, huh?”
I shake my head at her and she giggles. “Those bills are really low, baby.”
“I’d never be able to afford to live here if the house wasn’t paid off,” Emma replies. “I bought it off my uncle when he went to Arizona, basically just took over payments, and paid it off on a tourney.” She’s a showoff, a well-justified one. She used to bowl professionally and she can bowl better than anyone I’ve ever seen. “So, I have my own house and no food. And no money for bills, and maybe no job.” Emma’s smile is a bit wilted today, but her deep sky-blue eyes still draw me in.
“Bowl for a living?” I venture.
Emma sighs. “That would pay the bills for sure, but then you get to keep house here by yourself because I’m driving all over hell six months out of the year. I’d be better off selling the house and buying a tour bus. No thanks, I live here for good. My little house, Emma’s house.” Her blue eyes roamed around the room, picking up details–the clothes we’d dropped to the floor while I had tried to comfort her, the wastebasket overflowing with tissue paper. “I really like my job, Derf.” She’d spelled my name backward on a score sheet at the lanes yesterday and I guess the name is sticking. “I like the people I work with, the people that know me that come in for a drink, I like the drunks that want to buy me a drink and chat me up, I let them buy me a soda water and I watch them get dumber with each drink. I like serving you at the bar, Fred, I like it there!”
“He’s not going to fire you, Em.” I squeeze her. “Go over there and talk to him, tell him we’re sorry, and we’ll make it up to him.”
Emma dresses herself in a pink bra and panties, a pink jumpsuit kind of thing which fits her in all the right ways, white high-tops and a baby blue jacket. She spends fifteen minutes in the bathroom just off the master bedroom (it’s be vanity to call it a master bath); when she comes out, her face is clean, skin glowing, and her hair is damp and falls over her shoulders in tight shiny ringlets. I use the bathroom off the hall and dress in jeans and a T-shirt. Emma brushes past me, lipsticking on her way to the door, then turns back to face me. “Coming?”
“He said he doesn’t want to see me, but he wants to see you. Maybe I should stay here.”
Emma looks frustrated. “Oh bullshit, you tell me I have to go and then tell–” I kiss her passionately and she quiets. “Of course I’m coming,” I tell her, and she gives me her signature smile, wide and fun and shiny like a dime in God’s hand, as I wipe pink lipstick off my lips.
“Good boy.” She sounds touched.
“That’s ‘good man’, Em,” I tell her, looking down into her blue eyes.
“You are a good man, Fred. And I hate to admit it, but you’re a pretty good bowler too.”
This is real praise coming from Emma, who would have bowled a perfect 300-point game yesterday if she hadn’t deliberately put her last roll right into the gutter. The perfect game would have gotten her noticed at Stellar, but I realize now that notoriety can be better than fame. People might not look at scores, but everyone who was there on Christmas afternoon remembers “The Amazing and Spectacular Emma Duncan the Bowling Nurse”, so named on account of her spotless white bowling shoes. I looked in her bowling bag and yes, she has a can of white shoe polish in there.
I’m parked at Jerry’s Bar, two doors down, so we walk. It snowed during the night and then froze; everything is white covered with a sheet of glass. It’s cold and our breath puffs out in front of us. We walk in silence and I take her hand, warming her cold fingers. Emma’s right foot suddenly slips out from under her on the ice; I raise my arm and she dangles from my hand for an instant before setting her feet down.
“Thanks, Fred, I’m distracted.”
“No problem, Em.” We walk along, my bad ankle slowing us up. “You didn’t call me ‘Derf’.”
“I called you ‘Em’ and you didn’t call me ‘Derf’.”
“I called you Derf in front of a whole alley full of people. You can call me ‘Em’ if you want. It… sounds kinda nice coming from you.” She’s grinning at me, that grin that always breaks my heart and makes me think of sunshine breaking türbanlı escort through storm clouds in rays.
I pause outside the door. “Emma, if the guy doesn’t want to see me, I don’t want to make him. Should I go in?”
“If he doesn’t want to see you he’ll tell you to leave,” she answered. ‘Jerry’s not really a mean guy, Fred. Come on.” We walk in.
Jerry’s tending bar for three people, midnight shifters who’d been drinking since nine and it was now eleven. Danny, the daytime barkeep, runs a mop over the tiny dance floor.
“Emma! You brought Fred. Good.” He walks out from behind the bar and toward his office door. “I’m glad you came back, Fred, I woulda had to have Emma here run you a message.” He unlocks the door and holds it open. “C’mon in.”
As Emma and I walk into Jerry’s office, we carefully step over a sealed envelope on the floor, that we had put there: Emma’s Christmas bonus money, returned to Jerry because with his wife sick he needs it more. Jerry makes a ‘hmph’ sound, picks the envelope up and throws it on his desk, unopened.
Jerry closes the door. Emma looks at me, solemn, eyes wide. Her long, red eyelashes fluttered and she drew a breath.
“Jerry, are you gonna fire me?”
Jerry looks at her with a funny smile. “Fire you? Why?”
“The…pool table thing.”
“Heheh. When your car gets dented, do you pull the motor? No, I just wanted you guys to come in here so’s I could apologize to ya, I shouldn’ta raked you over the coals. Fred, you’re welcome here anytime; Emma, you’re not in trouble. It just struck me bad, is all.” His crusty old gaze softens. “It was dumb, and reckless, and disrespectful, yeah, but it was Christmas and it was exactly the same thing Holly and I would have done, and can’t do anymore. It hurts. Jealous, y’know?”
My respect for Jerry skyrockets that he would tell us this as his apology and his story brings a tear to my eye. I opened my mouth to speak, but Emma stepped behind his desk and put her arms around him. “I’m so sorry, Jerry,” she told him, soft. “If I’d known it would hurt you…”
“How could you know it’d hurt me?” Jerry laughed. “It shouldn’t hurt me, it should make me laugh, you guys forgettin’ that pool tables tend to get covered with chalk. Next time you wanna fuck on my pool table, keep your hair and clothes off the felt.” He picked up the envelope and looked at it. “On second thought, next time you wanna fuck on my pool table, just don’t. If you’re just a bit too rough on ’em they can tilt, and it’s a pain in the ass to get ’em level again.” I don’t mention just how rough we were.
“Thanks, Jerry,” I told him. “I don’t want you mad at me, and since you’re the closest place to drink now as well as the best–“
“Closest? Don’t you live off Maple?”
“He lives with me,” Emma says. “He moved out of his apartment.”
“Left it to the wife,” I say.
Jerry looks back and forth between us. “You guys are serious, aren’t you?”
This is our second day as a couple, and already I’m serious; I know I intend to marry this woman, the only woman I’ve ever had a successful bowling date with, the only woman I’ve ever even heard of who admitted that she liked anal sex and was ‘up for it anytime, practically’, the only woman who knew about my affair with my mom’s brother’s widow. It’s just too early to tell her yet.
I nod. “She’s perfect.”
Emma looked at me with melting eyes. “Thank you, Fred!” she told me, with just a touch of her wry, good-natured sarcasm. “You’d be perfect too, if you’d rolled strikes instead of spares last night.”
This interests Jerry. “You bowled against her again? Are you one of those pain guys, uh, masochist?”
“He did good last night, bowled a 238.”
Jerry nods. “So you beat him. What was your score?”
“Only because you threw that last roll into the gutter on purpose.”
Jerry is on his feet. “You threw a perfect game away? Why?”
“Because it doesn’t mean anything to me, Jerry. It’s…a game. For fun, right? Besides, I don’t want to bowl a perfect game against Fred–“
I’m actually a bit ticked about this. “Shit, Em, I don’t care if you kick fuck out of me!” I tell her. “Bowl to your level, you won’t hurt my feelings.”
She looks at me. “Fred, I’m doing this for FUN. I’m not trying to compete, I’m having fun bowling with my guy.”
“You can have more fun tryin’ to do what you ain’t sure you can do, especially when you got someone who don’t resent you for it cheerin’ you on.” Jerry offers a hand and I shake; I’ve gotten to know this guy better in five minutes than I have in the four years I’ve known him. I see Jerry as a wise man, and a kind one under his crusty shell.
“Sorry about the table, Jerry. It won’t happen again.”
“I know, Fred.” He gives me a smile.
“We’ll fuck right on the bar.”
“Get outta here!” Jerry yells, and I see him pull a letter opener out of his desk drawer and attack one corner of the envelope. tüyap escort Trading a glance, Emma and I hurry out the door and cross the bar at a run. We slip out the front door as Jerry’s yell follows us. “EMMA! Goddamnit, get back here!” But we’re gone.
I start limping toward the house, but Emma pulls me back around the corner, out of sight of the doorway, and sweeps our footprints out of the snow. Sure enough we hear the door open, and Jerry’s voice. “What the fuck?” We hear him sigh. “What a great fuckin’ kid.” We hear pride in his voice and Emma’s eyes fill with tears as he closes the door.
“I agree with that,” I tell her, and we kiss.
“That’s why I love Jerry,” Em tells me. “He is so nice, and no-one knows except me, Danny, Sam, and Holly.” Sam cooks for Jerry and makes an awesome slim jim; Jerry’s wife Holly was the daytime barmaid for the first two years I drank at Jerry’s until she contracted Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion two years ago, and Jerry had hired Em. “That’s why I want to keep working for him. Thanks for coming, Derf,” she says. “Jerry can be a scary guy.”
“I’m not scared of him, I just don’t want to piss him off. I like Jerry.”
Emma takes my hand and we slowly walk to her…we walk home. I notice Emma walking a bit stiffly, and I’m limping; what a pair we make. “Are you okay?” I ask her.
“Aw, Fred, you beat me up over the last couple days,” Emma replies. “Hurts to sit, hurts to…well, use the potty…and I feel like I had a cue ball in my mouth for an hour last night.”
My mind races back to yesterday’s activities. In the morning, we’d made love in her bed–our bed. At midday, she decided she wanted me in her ass, and I’d taken her that way and learned she likes anal in a big way. And then the pool table, where she’d wanted to be taken by force, and I’d stepped outside my normal envelope to fuck her almost brutally on the table and force her to suck me off, both obviously very exciting for Emma. She’s a kinky girl and she likes making love. Lots of love.
But now those memories cause other things to pop up, and while I really want Emma I don’t want to hurt her.
“I’m so sore but it felt so good, and it still does. We did some hot stuff yesterday, Derfster.” She giggles. “Now I’m horny again just thinking about it.”
I look at her as we near our front door. “Really? How horny?”
She gives me a sort of frightened look. “Oh no, Daddy, please don’t use that big stick of wood on me no more,” she says in a trembling voice. “I’ll be good–“
I laugh and Emma lets us in. I take her hand and lead her to the bedroom, throw her down on the bed and lay next to her.
She looks at me and kisses me. “Fred, I…please don’t hurt me,” she tells me, with no smile. “Not today, not now, I need–“
But I kiss her, I know what she needs. I take off her clothes without bothering with my own, and I kiss the inside of her ankle.
“Oh, Fred,” she says, a little breathless as I kiss my way up her leg, running my tongue over the back of her knee. Her thighs part, and I lick my way up her thigh to her sweet sex, kissing her lips and sliding my tongue directly between them. She hisses. “Ah, easy Fred, I–whoa, ohh–” as I blow gently on her fun button. She reaches down to open herself to me, and I lick her inner labia, knowing that if I touch her clitoris directly now she’ll squash my head between her thighs.
I touch her opening with one fingertip and slide it a little way inside. She stiffens. “Oh, owowow–” and I stop my exploring, leaving my finger still a moment before I pull it back. Emma relaxes, and I feel her start to welcome me as I press forward again. I just barely enter her with each thrust of my finger and I start to taste her excitement. I pull my finger away and hear a whimper of protest, but I’m not finished down there. My tongue slips down to her now-wet love tunnel and I slip it inside her. She draws a ragged breath. “Ow, oh yeah, I…I like…” Her hands tangle in my hair and my tongue enters her to its entire length, then out again, then in, tasting her salty sweetness, and I feel her straining to take more.
I drop my pants and lift myself, Emma’s hands tug at my hair until she realizes what I’m up to. “Oh, no Fred, don’t hurt me…” She is far removed from the Emma of last night, begging for it harder and harder on the pool table while we enacted her rape fantasy, but that would be why she’s sore now.
“I will never hurt you, Em,” I respond, and I touch her with my maleness and slowly, so slowly, press inside.
Her pussy is already wet from my tongue and from her excitement, so I slide easily, but her hands at my shoulders tighten into painful claws. “Ow ow OW!” I ease back from her, and her claws retract, and I feel her hands grip me on my return stroke but no fingernails. I go a little deeper and I hear her whimper, but I keep sliding, more slowly than before, and soon I am buried in her.
Emma gasps abruptly. “Oh no Fred, condom!”
Oh, damnit. The ones in Emma’s drawer are expired (it’s obvious she hasn’t been a slut), but there’s one in the pocket of Emma’s jeans from the bar vending machine. I pull from her and scramble in her clothes for it.
Once I have the raincoat on, I slide slowly back into her gentle shower, the rubber’s lubricant helping matters somewhat. Emma relaxes with me inside her and I feel her palms flat on my shoulderblades.
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